Horizon:Kimitoasamade 4B Chapter 11
Chapter 11: Wolf in the Reverberation
It is a color
It burns hot
In an instant
Point Allocation (Howl)
Suzu listened to the sound.
It was a flowing sound. And as it pushed in from close by, it felt like…
No, she thought.
She lived her life listening to sounds. And because she was so intimate with sound…
Is this the wind? she wondered.
It was a lot of wind. Was it the wind washing over the Musashi at night? Was it the usual wind that blew up from below and scattered the Musashi’s virtual ocean as mist?
…Will this wind become familiar music?
Just as she wondered that, she heard something.
She heard the sound of Mitotsudaira’s inhalation.
A moment later, the wolf spoke.
“Tonight will be a moonlit night.”
Suzu heard the word “moon”.
She lived her life sensing sounds.
So she did not really know what the moon was. It was apparently in the sky, but she was not quite sure what it was since she could not sense any temperature or sound from it. However…
“Tonight will be far too lively for dreams.”
The wolf spoke.
“So until sleep beckons.”
What would she do?
Suzu could not look to the moon. But that was why…
“The wolf shall howl at the moon while recalling past dreams.”
The wolf did not look to the moon.
She howled at it.
…In that case…
A sound arrived.
It was a voice.
“The king returns.”
The words were like a howl. They shook the air and led to further lyrics.
“To a celebration in the night.”
She spoke of a triumphant return. A parade to celebrate victory. As for the wolf…
“The fanged one is asked to take the lead.”
Yes, thought Suzu.
“With pride in her heart, she lends him strength and provides the first cry of victory.”
The knight went out ahead. Mitotsudaira had to see that as a given.
…Because she’s still carrying around what happened in the past.
Almost as a form of atonement, she would take the lead and ensure no one else was harmed.
But there was a time when it was not meant as atonement.
“Praising her king is enough.”
That was when she had achieved victory and gained the right to take the lead during the triumphant return.
“The army marches below the moon.
“Their return is like a march to the moon.
“The knight is glad to serve her king.
“And she thinks back to the past.”
Wow, thought Asama while looking up at Mitotsudaira.
…This is a song about how much she loves her king!
Mitotsudaira looked back at her.
It was a sidelong glance that seemed to ask “What do you think?” But this was the talking portion. The music continued and Mitotsudaira looked straight at her and spoke.
“Do you have any thoughts?”
Asama felt like her answer would be taken the wrong way whether she said yes or no.
“Um, what were you thinking about when you wrote these lyrics?”
Mitotsudaira’s eyebrows rose a bit. But…
She only smiled bitterly.
That had to mean “You would think that, wouldn’t you?” So Asama…
She tried to ask something of the idiot standing between her and Mitotsudaira.
…What did you say to get Mito to do this?
But her mouth did not move.
The answer was obvious.
It had to have been Kimi’s song they had heard at Asama’s house. It had been an ode to Kimi’s everyday life.
Oh, I see, realized Asama.
If Kimi sang about how enjoyable her everyday life was, it would naturally express joy about her life with him.
That would be toxic to a knight pining for her king. However…
…Kimi probably chose that song on purpose…
I’m glad I didn’t fall for it, thought Asama while smiling at Mitotsudaira.
“Th-then, um, Mito? Please continue.”
“…Um, your eagerness is worrying me a little.”
“What’s wrong with a knight’s song!? Let’s hear about your triumphant return to please your king!”
“Um, uh, Tomo?” Mitotsudaira hung her head and spread her mouth horizontally. “From here on, it gets a little more personal…”
As soon as Asama uttered that syllable of confusion, Kimi casually placed a finger on the sign frame while floating in the tub.
That caused a large vibration in Turning Point behind Mitotsudaira.
“Heh heh. Enough excuses! Keep going, keep going! Time for the second verse!!”
“You are the worst!”
This ultimately gave Asama what she wanted, so she decided to allow it.
Mitotsudaira gathered her resolve and sang.
She would end up singing this at the festival anyway, so she had to set aside her fear.
“The beast defied everything while all alone.”
“All of a sudden, she had been protected.”
People in the know would realize what she was talking about. However…
“She was told this was her home.
“So she cried, agreed, and made a new vow.”
Yes. This song could be seen as her shame and it embarrassed her to sing it, but…
“Let us offer up everything.”
It was true she had made that decision. And…
…Yes, I can reveal this much about myself.
She had recently come to think that way.
And she doubted her king would feel any pressure when he heard it. She trusted that he had some kind of plan.
So she sang. As if shouting into the sky. As if howling.
“Oh, oh. On the march home.”
She opened her throat and sang.
“Oh, oh. Look to the moon. Oh, oh. My king and I.
“Oh, oh. Focus on this song.”
She raised her voice and thought.
“Oh, oh. Offer my regrets. Oh, oh. To the moon.
“Oh, oh. To save. Oh, oh. My heart.”
She wanted to help her king.
But she formed words for the next talking part.
“This is a dream of the present.”
It was a dream.
“A dream had by the moonlit silver wolf wrapped in a blanket.”
She felt like she was saying too much. And like she was speaking too much. And like she had chosen these words while thinking what her king would think. But…
“But after waking up a few more times.”
Even if it was a dream…
“Surely this dream will come true.”
How could she trust that she would not be a burden?
Asama sensed a slight change in Mitotsudaira’s song.
…Is she making a plea?
No. These words were not being spoken to the outside world.
The sounds the knight used with a hand to her chest sounded like they were directed at herself.
“I once was lost and my justice wavered.
“I searched for what was right and nearly threw out my strength.”
But she was not afraid to reveal her anxieties about the future.
“Even if crushed by a great force.
“Even if I spill tears in helplessness.”
Asama knew that Mitotsudaira had great power as a Loup-Garou, but she was not the “strongest”.
She knew the girl had been “crushed” once about 7 years before. It had left her abandoned and she had gone wild afterwards, but something had saved her a few years later.
“I am not abandoned as a knight.”
Someone had not forgotten that she was a knight.
And that person had brought her back to them. So…
“Oh, oh. I swear my heart. Oh, oh. To the moon.
“Oh, oh. That I will not fear. Oh, oh. Making mistakes.”
The wolf howled.
“Oh, oh. Never hesitating. Oh, oh. And never straying.
“Oh, oh. Is my pride. Oh, oh. As my king’s knight.”
What did she want from that person?
The knight sang.
“I am directly relied upon.”
She wanted to be relied on and not abandoned.
Asama felt like Mitotsudaira was revealing far too much of herself. What would he think when he heard it? But…
“I dream in the moonlight.”
The wolf spoke within the knight’s song that asked for her king.
“Will it come true after I toss and turn a few more times?”
“But I am happy enough already.
“So I fall asleep and I dream.”
You idiot, thought Asama in her heart.
If you can sing this much, how can you let yourself be satisfied here?
If she had enough already, she would not have written a song like this. She clearly had the thoughts inside her and they were even leaking out, so how could she act so understanding and suppress them?
It carried the same scheming weight as only showing your anger in advance and then waiting for them to invite you over.
Asama did understand.
Mitotsudaira had come here because she desired him as a knight. So there was something she had to tell him.
…She should probably tell him to shape up…
“The wolf takes the lead in her king’s return march.
“The knight looks to the moon and unleashes a howl.”
The wolf looked to the moon as a knight.
“That familiar scent of a promise
“Belongs to a home that did not let go or abandon me.”
A dream of tossing and turning.
A dream of what she actually wanted.
That might be saying too much, but…
“Approach the king with proud cheers.
“And he gives you a place for indulgence.”
Where was that?
“When praised and patted on his lap
“Your joy gets through even if you try to hide it.”
Wow, thought Asama yet again.
But that was the kind of king/knight relationship Mitotsudaira wanted. And…
“Forever his knight.”
That had to be the “relationship” she wanted even if only in a dream.
“Oh, oh. Look to the moon. Oh, oh. On the return march.
“Oh, oh. The past and the present. Oh, oh. The present and the future.”
It was a song of her king. And…
“Oh, oh. Straying is allowed. Oh, Oh. As we walk together.
“Oh, oh. A god sings. Oh, oh. Of the silver moon.”
It was a knight’s song of accompanying her king.
There was a way of making it real instead of a dream or something forced upon him.
She knew what that was.
She had recently had plenty of opportunities to work with the rest of Class Plum and she had realized that the reservations she had felt were only found inside herself. So…
“Oh, oh. Look to the. Oh, Oh. Waning moon, my king.
“Oh, oh. Together with you. Oh, oh. Look to the horizon.”
Just like Kimi’s song, the others were included in this song.
It was not difficult to imagine the looks on Asama and Kimi’s faces behind her.
“Oh, oh. Look to the. Oh, oh. Waxing moon, my king.
“Oh, oh. Together with you. Oh, oh. Forever with my king.”
There was of course a reason for including her friends’ names in the lyrics.
…We must be the same.
She had her feelings about the past, but in the present…
…We must be equal.
Together, they would say what they wanted to say and accept what they wanted to accept.
So if she could do that with her king, she and her king would be equal.
Instead of pestering him from below and then waiting and instead of being reliant on him, she would face him at equal eye level, make a proper request, and make an active effort to help each other out.
Or she hoped that could happen.
So she would speak her words. And what should a knight say to her king on the march home if they were equals?
She formed the words. She breathed in, opened her mouth, faced forward, and spoke the words of the dream in which she looked to the future.
“Can I expect words of gratitude?”
Suzu smiled a little.
But not because it was funny.
She was happy.
She learned about things via sound, so she could actively listen to that song that treated the moon as something to howl at rather than looked at. She was also glad she had heard Mitotsudaira’s emotions in that song.
Suzu of course knew who Mitotsudaira’s king was.
Simply being in the same place as him was enough for Suzu, but that was why she sympathized with Mitotsudaira’s doubts.
After all, she did not hope for anything more and no feelings smoldered inside her.
But Mitotsudaira’s relationship with him was different. There was a promised future to it. But if forcing it onto him or pestering him about it would be a burden…
It was incredible that she was trying to be equal with him.
But, thought Suzu.
Mitotsudaira was left in a bit of a daze after finishing her song, but now she turned toward Suzu.
The confusion over what she was about to be asked showed just how much of herself she had placed in the song.
So Suzu spoke the words with straightforward earnestness.
Her king had to have his own thoughts, he would surely treat her normally without thinking of it as a burden, and he would also be equal with her.
“Even if you make a mistake…we will…set you straight.”
Mitotsudaira tensed a bit at that. The heat emanating from her cooled a bit, but…
Suzu heard an exhalation. And…
There was a smile in Mitotsudaira’s voice.
She was facing Suzu.
“So I intend to do what I want without fear, even if there are some mistakes along the way.”
I see, thought Naomasa while listening to Mitotsudaira’s words.
She did not know Mitotsudaira all that well. They had known each other since elementary school, but the other girl was provisionally first in line to the Far East as well as a ranked knight.
Naomasa was a mere maintenance worker, so they had little in common.
However, she was familiar with Mitotsudaira’s circumstances and past and those things had moved her to emotion at times.
Even with social status and rank, people had their own personal troubles.
It would be one thing if those troubles were out-of-touch and indulgent, but…
Naomasa wondered what she would do if she wanted to cast everything aside but was not allowed to.
What if she wanted to throw everything out and get a fresh start, but her past refused to let go?
…That would be…
“A real pain.”
Adele must have heard her muttered words because the girl glanced over at her.
But Naomasa said no more.
There was in fact something she could not cast aside.
It was something she absolutely could not throw out.
However, it helped her in her everyday life and its existence was a source of hope.
But what if it broke beyond repair?
And what if she was forced to hold onto that broken thing?
Naomasa felt something like fear and tried to erase the feeling inside her. She told herself not to tremble in fear of her own imagination.
She was only placing herself in Mitotsudaira’s shoes here.
She was different. She had not become like Mitotsudaira.
So she would be fine. However…
…That knight must have felt like this for several years.
I don’t think I could stand it, thought Naomasa.
And she had another thought on top of that: There’s an idiot who took on the burden of what the wolf couldn’t throw out, told her she was needed, and tried to continue on together with her.
A toast to that idiot king, she thought before speaking.
“Suzu, can I have some sake?”
“Oh, yes… I’ll bring…some.”
Suzu stood up from the edge of the bath, wrapped a towel around her at chest height, and jogged off.
Adele watched her go and commented on it.
“She can’t normally run like that, can she?”
“Well, this is kind of like Bell-rin’s home.”
“Probably so,” agreed Naomasa before looking to Mitotsudaira who was soaking over by Asama and Kimi.
“Mito,” she said. “I see you aren’t blushing.”
“I can forget about all that when I’m singing.”
“Then was that what you really think?”
Only after hearing that did the knight blush.
I don’t get her. Not that they knew each other all that well, but…
“It was a nice song. I mean, you were singing about your dream.”
So Naomasa looked up to the ceiling to take her eyes off the others as she spoke.
“It’s a real pain, but you should treat it with care.”
Masazumi walked through the evening sky.
She was on her way home.
Her home was on Murayama, the second port ship, so she usually took the direct, diagonal path from Okutama along the port bow rope passageway. While doing that now, she walked across a 5m-wide rope passageway made from gravitational control.
The wind blew by. Or she thought it did.
From her perspective, it passed from the bottom left of the rope passageway to the upper right.
Something had drawn an arc on its way up into the sky.
…What was that?
It seemed too big to be a bird, but too small to be a Technohexen broom.
She looked up toward it and saw something in the starboard sky.
It was a humanoid silhouette.
Someone stood on the rope passageway connecting Tama to Okutama.
It was a name inheritor: Suzuki Magoichi.
Even at this distance, her demon horns and the rifles on her shoulders were visible in the silhouette. She held an insha kotob while the rifles took flight. They soared through the air like birds.
The three giant crows raced their silhouettes through the evening sky.
The insha kotob she held while controlling their flight was likely flight authorization from Musashi. It would provide a map of Musashi’s crowded airspace telling her where she could have her rifles fly.
In the evening, there was little traffic from Okutama where the academy was. Tama and Murayama’s skies were also relatively calm since they were mostly used for diplomacy.
The nighttime activity would begin once night truly fell, but this was the gap between.
Masazumi recalled that twilight was known as a time of visiting demons.
And this was when she ran across a name inheritor. Even if it was at a distance and the girl was not looking back at her. To Magoichi, she would only be a passerby, assuming the girl even noticed her at all.
But, thought Masazumi.
…So that’s a name inheritor.
She was different from Matsudaira Motonobu and his retainers in Mikawa. She was also different from the officers and faculty on the Musashi.
She was a foreign name inheritor who was not affiliated with any nation. That meant…
There would be nations that wanted her. She was well-known for her skill with rifles.
But regardless, she was “alone” at the moment.
Only the rules of the world – the Testament – supported her.
Masazumi hoped she would be like that one day.
Of course, she had already failed to inherit a name. In that case…
“There’s no point in envying people who have already reached that point.”
She felt a definite weight in the cloth wrapper she held.
She gripped it tighter and shifted her gaze from the name inheritor silhouetted by the pale light of evening.
She faced forward and resumed the walk home.
“I’m not alone right now.”
- The line “together with you” can also be interpreted as “Tomo and Kimi”.
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